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Lee Mendelson, Producer of ‘Peanuts’ and ‘Garfield’ TV Specials, Dies at 86

Lee Mendelson, Producer of ‘Peanuts’ and ‘Garfield’ TV Specials, Dies at 86

Lee Mendelson, who produced several “Peanuts” and “Garfield” television specials, died at his home in Hillsborough, Calif. on Christmas Day after a battle with lung cancer, according to Palo Alto’s Daily Post.

Mendelson is also known for writing the lyrics to “Christmastime Is Here” from the 1965 TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

The producer was born in 1933 and began his career in television in 1961 while working at San Francisco’s Kpix-tv. In 1963, he started Lee Mendelson Productions in Burlingame, Calif., according to his website. That same year, following a hit on NBC with a documentary called “A Man Named Mays” made by Mendelson and cinematographer and editor Sheldon Fay Jr., the two made their first Charlie Brown special, “A Boy Named Charlie Brown.” What followed was a 38-year long relationship with “Peanuts” creator Charles Schultz and animator Bill Melendez that lead to over 50 “Peanuts” specials.

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